Winter is a magical season—a sparkly landscape of fun and coziness. Of course, there is also the freezing cold, backbreaking shoveling, and ice-covered windshields. Well, that is why the perfect getaway is essential in recapturing that special enchantment that only the winter beholds. There’s no better place to find your winter wonderland than the Hudson Valley’s Catskill Mountain villages. Margaretville and Phoenicia are lined with charming streetscapes set among the white peaks and slopes of the Catskills, where life seems simple and majestic at the same time.
For a postcard town with fantastic shops and that quintessential holiday spirit spend some time in Margaretville. In the blue of dusk, stroll past Margaretville’s beautiful Catskill shops with unique artisan character. Stop into 768 Main, a newly restored storefront with exquisite antiques, furniture, jewelry, vintage clothing, fine teas, organic chocolates, and crafts from local artisans. Up the road, Bed and Bath Shoppe is a must stop for simple little luxuries and unique gifts for your bedroom and bath—to soak in the joys of life this season.
As you stroll further down the street you may notice the passersby smiling, enjoying the winter oasis—that’s just because Margaretville has a way of making people feel good. Margaretville’s Cheese Barrel Cafe is a fine contemporary grocer with anything you need, as well as a breakfast-lunch joint with specialty coffees and teas. Walk in and you will be reminded of an old-timey General Store, adding to Margaretville’s vintage village quality. WildFlowers, also on Main Street, is an innovative floral and event design company, where you can work with award-winning florists for an arrangement that will bring some color and vitality to this white season. If you are staying overnight, enjoy the nightlife at The Roxbury, a "boutique motel resort" in the nearby historic village of Roxbury. Their rooms offer the discerning traveler a dramatic, thematic contemporary twist on the old country lodging experience.
One key element to any winter getaway is amazing outdoor recreation—and the Catskills have a ton to choose from. The Margaretville/Phoenicia area offers a plethora of ski resorts and outdoor activities to exceed the expectations of every kind of winter enthusiast—from the timid to the adventurist. Visit Belleayre Mountain, Windham Mountain, or Hunter Mountain for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, moguls, terrain parks, and even ski jumps with oversized stunt bag pillows to land in. Relish the stunning, panoramic views and the pinch of the bittersweet air on your nose at the top of the mountains. Soar down at your own pace past glistening trees on your way to the base lodge. Enjoy warming your toes at the fireplace with your hands wrapped around a hot cocoa. Or grab a beer and hamburger après ski at the lodge and soak in the satisfying feeling after a hard day of fun in the snow.
Another gem of the region, Frost Valley, must not be overlooked when considering recreation in the great wild. A full immersion in the wonders of winter, Frost Valley offers lodging, outings, and retreats and has a huge range of exciting, rejuvenating winter activities that will reconnect you to nature and all the glory that winter beholds. With 6,000 acres of cross-country skiing terrain going through forests and gliding next to streams, you can slide your way through the picturesque landscape. Ever try ice fishing? Frost Valley staff will cut you a perfect hole in the ice and you can tap into the unfrozen underworld! They also have snow tubing, snow shoeing, naked eye astronomy, and many indoor activities to add to your retreat, including facials and spa treatments.
Near the slopes, the ideal charm of Phoenicia will make you fall in love with winter again. Walking down large sidewalks arm in arm with your partner, watching the huge snowflakes fall, you begin to feel like you are a miniature in a snow globe. Day or night Phoenicia has something going on that will leave you satisfied both in body and soul! If you’ve had a hard day on the slopes, some beers at Brio’s Restaurant and Pizzeria are like medicine for your cold, achy body. You’ll be ready to head back out tomorrow, after you fill up on some of their traditional homemade comfort foods, too. If you are in the mood for something spicy, head to the Sportsman’s Alamo Cantina for award-winning Mexican cuisine with a flair—from Tex-Mex burgers to Alamo wings and everything in between. If cocktails are your fancy, they boast the largest selection of tequila in town, and a fantastic array of delectable frozen concoctions—guaranteed to set the mood in any season. Or, perhaps after a day of activity outdoors, you desire a comforting fireside dining excursion; Ricciardella’s Restaurant will pamper you with exquisite plating and fine service.
If you stay overnight, try the Phoenicia Belle Bed and Breakfast, a Victorian B&B with a beautiful and restful environment. Make sure you leave time to visit Phoenicia’s eclectic mix of shops. The Nest Egg, an old-time country store, carries a little bit of everything for the Catskill shopper. They are packed to the rafters with practical and hard-to-find merchandise—including Minnetonka Moccasins, Lazy One Pajamas, books on local history and hiking, nostalgic candies and games, jewelry, and so much more. Tender Land Home is another must-see for some marvelous home products. They offer the refined shopper a variety of high quality and stunningly beautiful goods—perhaps some of their specially stamped wax candles and a new throw rug would add that winter-wonderful quality to your home this season. After shopping get your hunger and thirst satisfied at Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room in nearby Big Indian. Enjoy a beautifully restored country farmhouse with exceptional farm-fresh foods, set among the bucolic Catskills.
No retreat would be complete without submersing yourself in the lap of luxury. There is nowhere better to do this than The Emerson Resort and Spa in Mt. Tremper. For a true escape from the stress of life, The Emerson gives a reassuring sense that one is no longer part of the outside world. Their exceptional guestrooms and suites are beautiful, comforting, and memorable. Enjoy inventive cuisine at The Phoenix Restaurant or indulge in one of the soothing treatments at their Mobil Four-Star Spa. Outside, the picturesque Hudson Valley will remind you that life is good and winter can be a very special time of year.
A retreat to the Catskill region is the perfect cure for any winter blues. Don’t hide inside this winter, spend some time outdoors and be reminded of the stillness and quiet beauty that only winter can offer, or connect with the charm and excitement of the season. That wonderful childhood feeling of making a snowman and then going inside for some hot cocoa can easily be recaptured during a winter getaway to the Hudson Valley.
Hot Locales for Cold Days
768 Main, Main Street, Margaretville. 845-586-6166; 768main.com
Bed and Bath Shoppe, Main Street, Margaretville. 845-586-1887; bedandbathshoppe.com
Belleayre Mountain, Highmount. 845-254-5600; belleayre.com
Brios Restaurant & Pizzeria, Main Street, Phoenicia. 845-688-5370; brios.net
Cheese Barrel Cafe, Main Street, Margaretville. 845-586-4666; cheesebarrel.com
Emerson Resort & Spa, Route 28, Mt. Tremper. 877-688-2828; emersonresort.com
Frost Valley YMCA, Frost Valley Road, Claryville. 845-985-2291; frostvalley.org
Hanah Mountain Resort & Country Club, West Hubbell Hill Road, Margaretville. 845-586-4849; hanahcountryresort.com
Hunter Mountain, Main Street, Hunter. 800-486-8376; huntermtn.com
Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room, Route 28, Big Indian. 845-254-6500; peekamooserestaurant.com
Phoenicia Belle Bed & Breakfast, Main Street, Phoenicia. 845-688-7226; phoeniciabelle.com
Ricciardella’s Restaurant, Main Street, Phoenicia. 845-688-7800; ricciardellas.com
Sportsman’s Alamo Cantina, Main Street, Phoenicia. 845-688-5259; alamocantina.com
Tender Land Home, Main Street, Phoenicia. 845-688-7213; tenderlandhome.com
The Nest Egg, Main Street, Phoenicia. 845-688-5851; thenesteggcountrystore.com
The Roxbury, Route 41, Roxbury. 607-326-7200; theroxburymotel.com
WildFlower Florist, Richard Simms, Main Street, Margaretville. 845-586-2444; wildflowers-design.com
Windham Mountain, Clarence D. Lane Road, Windham. 800-754-9463; windhammountain.com